The Myth of No-Line Bifocals

At a very early age I began noticing that something was going on with my eyes. I think it was last year. This is how I knew something was not right — anything I held closer than about 12 inches from my face was completely blurry. What’s that about? I remembered my dad complaining that he knew he needed reading glasses because suddenly his arms were too short. I guess this shortening of the arms must run in the family.

However, reading glasses — you know, the kind you can buy at WalMart for twenty dollars — were not going to cut it because I wear glasses for distance, too. So, rather than begin juggling glasses like a court jester juggles balls, I would have to wear bifocals.

I could do that. I had bifocals when I was in early elementary school. After the initial two weeks of falling up stairs and tripping over my feet, I never even noticed I was wearing them. So, I went to the ophthalmologist and got myself a prescription for bifocals. However, she said she wanted me to get progressive lenses, otherwise known as no-line bifocals, because they allow you to see close up at the bottom of the lens and progressively further away as you go higher up the lenses. (Hence, the name.) Sounded good. I really didn’t care that no one would be able to see the line, giving away my secret that I’m old enough to need bifocals. All a person has to do is look at the rest of me to figure that out!

Now, these lenses are more expensive than regular bifocals, so it took me about a year to come to terms with spending the amount of money it would require, but eventually, I took the plunge and got myself some progressive lenses. I could hear the happy-music (you know, the kind to which Snoopy does his happy-dance) as I walked out of the store wearing my new specs. At last I was going to be able to read everything!

This euphoria lasted exactly until I stopped at the grocery store later that day. I became dizzy from trying to switch from reading labels close up to seeing things on the shelf. I wisely realized this was the “getting adjusted phase.” It would pass.

But, I’m here to tell ya, after several months I’m beginning to suspect that there will never be a solution to my problem. I’m thinking of going out and buying a cane. I enjoyed using my eyes while they worked.  Thanks for the memories!

Here’s my problem —okay, problems: First, when I’m talking with folks, not only do I use my hands (no, I’m not Italian) but I’ve just discovered that I also nod. A lot. Well, when that happens, if my eyes are open, I get very dizzy, because I’m seeing through all the different zones of the lenses in a very short period of time.

My second problem with these blasted glasses is that each “zone” of the lens seems to be microscopic in height. Thus causing all kinds of blurring if my head moves, or the words move. Sometimes it takes me 30 seconds to find exactly the part of the lens I need to look through when the book is exactly that distance from my eyes. And sometimes I simply cannot find that spot. At all.

And finally, my church has a balcony; and we sit in the balcony. You don’t see the problem? Try to imagine looking at the pastor, who stands below me. Now I have to drop my chin to my chest in order to see through the top-most part of the stupid glasses. And then there’s the hymn book that I’m trying to share with children who are shorter than I am, thus requiring me to hold it at least two-feet away from my face. Once again requiring perfect aim to be able to see the words without blurring. And at least one child is “helping” by holding the other side of the book. Do you see why I may just give up on the whole thing?

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